If there's one time I need to read other's blogs for appreciation, it's during feeding. I should have them propped up, and as I give Avi a spoon, I should take in a good, healthy sized, dose of gratitude at the very same time!
Truth be told, we've gone rounds with her. I start off showering her with love and kisses. I'm a sweet talking little Momma at first, but my sugary words fall on deaf ears, so then my efforts turn to indifference. The numbness slowly evolves into downright nasty, as sadly that seems to be what she prefers. Then, the guilt sets in. How can I be nasty to this little girl? It's the only way she opens her mouth though. It's the only time I ever raise my voice and get mad at her.
Feedings are usually a degree of sheer torment at some point around here, and I'm sick of it. I am having feeding tube fantasies again : )
She is so damn stubborn. As I'm feeding her, I often laugh thinking about if some stranger walked into my house, and saw the exchange taking place. It would look something like this ~ wicked witch of the west mom, and what looked like the poor, innocent, brain injured child who appeared to be just trying to do her best to eat her food. They would attempt to have me put away.
If you've fed our child for any consecutive length of days, you would know, the snapshot is just not the reality of the situation. Actually, you would probably toss the spoon, and bowl, throw your arms in the air, and go running down the street with a combination of dandelion greens, yam and daikon radish all on your hair, face and cute little outfit! If we could hire someone to come in and feed her every.single.meal of the day, we would! Dave and I are at the end of our rope.
Before Aviana was in the hospital this recent time, our doctor asked me, "do you think her feeding issues are brain injury related, or behavioral?" I spat, "BEHAVIORAL!" Yes, I pretty much screamed it at him. As the words were barely out of my mouth, her doctor completely agreed, he said, "it's behavioral, and we need to break this stallion!" But guess what, after the botched liver biopsy, the whole perfectly placed feeding plan fell by the wayside. He pitched us a Porsche, but after, pretty much washed his hands of us and sent us off in the Yugo of feeding. Why? Well, I'm still trying to untangle the mystery.
In the meantime, we duke it out with the child three times a day, oh and I must not forget, I stand on the corner and proposition anyone who will come feed our child.
Real Life Scenario
A few weeks after we almost lost Avi. We were loving on her. We were hugging her tightly, and so very thankful to have her with us. We were telling her how much we love her and how grateful we were to have her here with us. We were both crying over her, which never happens, as Dave almost never cries.
Dave was about to feed her and I was going to make a Paula Dean Lemon Loaf Cake (yeah, I actually sometimes do make other things, than pie : ) I was sweet talking Aviana and told her that if she ate well she could have some for dessert.
Dave starts feeding. I start baking.
Dave: Avi, do a good job ok. Dessert is going to be good tonight.
Dave: Come on honey, open your mouth.
Jen: Avi, you need to open your mouth sweetie. Don't you want dessert tonight. It's going to be good.
Dave: Avi, come on. You need to eat.
Jen: Avi, that's not opening your mouth. How are we supposed to feed you if you don't open?
Dave: You're about to lose your dessert.
Jen: Just stop Dave. Forget it. Put her to bed. I'm so sick of this.
Dave: Come on Avi, open your mouth.
Dave: Miki, open your mouth baby.
Dave: Fine. Forget it. You're going to bed!
Jen: Good job Avi. You lost your dessert and now your going straight to bed. All because you won't open your mouth!
As you can see, within one feeding, she can turn us on a dime. She drives us crazy. And you know who else drives us crazy, her Nana. While we so appreciate her help in coming over to feed her sometimes. What we don't appreciate is when we are feeding her, and like a parrot - she perches over our shoulder and says things like....
She has food in her mouth.
You're going too fast.
She just doesn't like her food.
She needs more water.
She needs to swallow.
You need to slow down.
She needs a break.
She's so cute.
Awww...look at how cute she is.
She's such a good girl. (She says this when she's doing horribly)
Avi, you're such a good girl!
It's like the two of them are in cahoots. My mom says all of the above in the sweetest, cutest, little voice ever, which used to fool me. It makes it really hard to get upset, but the truth is, when you just feed her once in a while...yes, she does look cute and yes, you can make little observations of what you think it might be, and yes, you can be on her side. We feed her day in, and day out, we know how fast, if she has food in her mouth, if she has swallowed or not, if she needs a break, when she needs water, we know every nuance of this child.
I do however see my mom's point of view, Aviana is her baby and it hurts her deeply to see us get frustrated with her The bottom line though is we are her parents and we have to keep her weight up. That is such a stressful thing. Her health, weight, and well being rest entirely on our shoulders and if she's not opening her mouth, well then, we can't do any of the above. I've thought about this a great deal over the past few days, and what it boils down to is - when feeding, my mom is looking at Aviana from a purely emotional standpoint, we are observing her physically.
Oh Avi, I'm about to stick a tube back in you! I never thought I would have to threaten my child with a feeding tube. I often wonder why we worked so hard to get the thing out? We wanted so desperately to give her some sort of a quality life. We desperately wanted for her to be able to enjoy food, like so many of us do. To be able to eat, socially, like we all do. But you know what...she could take food, or leave it if you ask me. She really doesn't care. So why should we?
I talk a good story, but I'm sure I won't ever go the feeding tube route again. There were many benefits, but there were a host of drawbacks as well. Switching would essentially be trading one problem for another.
The truth of the matter is - for me, feeding has always been a struggle. I didn't remember this, but a few days ago, I had to go back to the very beginning of this blog, and there it was, in black and white, feeding problems. Boy did it jar all the old memories. I spoke of my feeding battles with Aviana prior to the accident. She's a stubborn little one. It's nice to see some things haven't changed, or is it?